To The Working Moms:

by admin on October 23, 2012

Yep, I’m going there.  Albiet a little hesitantly… I know this can be a passionate topic!  But I’m ready to face the masses, and hopefully get some good thoughts on what works for my fellow working moms!

First, understand that I in no way(!) profess know all the answers when it comes to this all-too-tricky topic.  But, I have developed some interesting insights, ideas, and hopefully-helpful-hints to help us working mothers find more JOY (and less GUILT) in what we do!

My first item of discussion is for moms like me!  (I’ll admit, I think we are a growing crowd now-a-days).  The moms who don’t necessarily NEED to work (financially), but have a passion about something to the degree that we would be incomplete without it in our lives.  In fact, I will broaden this topic even more… even if it’s not “work” – something you give your time to, more-or-less regularly, that takes you away from your children or home.  Wether it be your Etsy shop merchandise, an in-home daycare, your daily work-out or weekly basket-weaving lesson, I firmly believe that ALL MOMS (and dads, for that matter,) absolutely deserve – and should participate in – something that gets them away from the dishes, and doing something they love.  I consider myself very fortunate that my passion also contributes financially, but that is really superfluous to its necessity.  The point here is painfully simple, yet we martyrs… errr, MOTHERS… really struggle to accept it.  It’s that, if done in moderation, this time taken to fulfill a passion can actually make us much better wives and mothers!

Example.

I underwent double hip surgery almost three months ago.  At a six-month recovery rate, we all knew it was trouble.  For the first few weeks it wasn’t terrible.  We had in-home help, meals brought in, and more-or-less round the clock help with the kids (oh, and I was very much drugged).  But once day-to-day life had to resume, I started to feel that itch.  As more time passed, that itch turned into full-blown HIVES and my poor husband and kids were the innocent, unsuspecting targets of my aggravation.  Sure, I was in pain from the surgery… but that wasn’t the root of the problem.

The very day I got back to the studio (and not even dancing semi-full-out!) those hives started to cool.  The music, the lesson, giving corrections, the ideas flowing out and entering in, watching my dancers improv like pros…. To me, it’s like plugging my inner-battery into the charger for a few hours.  Then that battery is full, and I can come back to my family well-equipped to be the wife and mother I know I need (and want) to be!

Now, some of you Stay At Home Moms (SAHM) may be thinking “Well, being around my kids fills my batteries!” And can I just say – you are freakin’ awesome.  AND, I agree with you to a degree.  But – I stand by the fact that my few hours of dancing, teaching and choreographing truly allows me to be a better version of myself when I am home.  And, I would think that – even if it’s just the occasional GNO, we all need some type of release to fully enjoy our time being mothers.  Which brings me to my next idea:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have found that my life as a working mom is immeasurably better when I forget my work when I am at home – and E-N-J-O-Y my time with my kids.  Now, does this mean that I never lose my temper or want to run from the house screaming “I SWEAR THERE’S GONNA BE A HOMICIDE UP IN HERE!!!!!”  Well, unfortunately, no.  I’m definitely all-kinds of imperfection, and I do get flustered more than I would like to admit.  However, something I really focus on in our home is being “with” my kids as much as I can.  We are not much of a T.V. family.  We are not much of a video game family.  When I am home with the kids, (for the most part) I put my phone away, turn off the computer, and do my best to be interacting with them.  There are two big reasons I do this.

1. I really do not want to look back at the younger (more PHYSICALLY exhausting I must say) years of my children’s lives and say, “Where did that time go??”  I absolutely LOVE the simple innocence of the toddler years.  The way they want you to be by their side always.  The way they will slow down just long enough to give you a kiss and tell you they love you.  The way you can still – occasionally – get them to fall asleep in your arms as you listen to the quiet hum of their breathing through constantly stuffy noses.  I love their smiles, their smells, their little chubby booties… the way they dance uninhibited, the way they get positively giddy when you tell them you’ll take them to the park.  These days are numbered!  And I know with heavy heart that this is the ONLY TIME in their life that they will be little.  Is it exhausting at times? – absolutely!  But, man, if you allow yourself to soak in the sweet moments, I’ll bet you – like me – might feel a little more enjoyment and a little less exhaustion.  And hopefully have a little less regret when they are older.

2. I believe honest, open, close relationships start very young.  I’ve never had a teenager before; those days are coming ALL too soon. *sniff* However, I was once a teen, and I teach a LOT of teens.  Something I have observed and experienced is that, if a strong parent-child relationship is developed in the very young years, it tends to stay more-or-less that way as the years pass.  If I put my kids in front of the TV during the day, then spend the night at the studio — when do we grow and foster that relationship? And, trust me, sometimes the LAST thing I feel like doing is pushing a car around the family room rug for the 34,259,011th lap.  However, I know I need to let my kids know every day that I WANT to be with them; I CARE about what they care about, and I will BE THERE when they need me… so that hopefully – if I am consistent with this practice – our relationship will continue to strengthen as it ages.

Last, I want to take a stab at the all-too-familiar emotion all mothers face in some degree: GUILT.  Man, are we great at this one.  Professional Guilt Feelers.  In fact, if there is ANY guilt in the vicinity I will surely find a way to take hold of it and call it my own.  However – I actually have made some hedge-way in the struggle with this emotion.  And what I’m going to say now will completely blow your mind.  Wait for it.  Just LET. IT. GO.  Mind-boggling, huh? Near impossible to imagine it, yet so completely liberating when put into practice.

It was at a convention last year that, while feeling exceptionally guilty for leaving the family for a weekend, this simple thought came to me : “Bree – could you go home and be with your family right now?” Sure.  Nobody would die… I wouldn’t get fired, surely.  I could leave the convention. “But ARE you going to go home right now?” No.  I want to be here – I want to support my students, take class and have some time away!  “WELL THEN!  Your all-encompassing guilty feelings are a USELESS WASTE OF ENERGY AND EMOTIONS!” (Yes, I talk to myself inaudibly from time to time. It’s cool.)  Anyway, my point is – what’s the point?  Unless your guilt is going to ultimately make you take action (say, to lose weight…) than it is really useless.  That day, I decided that if I were engaged in an activity outside of the home that I believed was important, and that I knew I wanted or needed to be there, that I wasn’t going to allow myself to give in to that feeling of guilt.  I know that my kids are always well-cared-for, even in my absence.  In fact, I believe it absolutely benefits them – as well as my husband – to have time without me there.  It develops a little independence,  keeps them appreciating me, and helps my husband understand what I go through every day! 😀

So – that was wayyy long… but if you waded through it and made it to this point, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts, reactions, or ideas concerning the topic.  Like I said before – I’m definitely learning as I go, and any thoughts you may have to add would be greatly welcomed!

Much Love, Bree

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